Things have really changed since I started riding an e-bike. But the biggest change has been how I take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). I used to spend my time on the train listening to music and scrolling through the interwebs. Now, I find myself balancing my e-bike, maneuvering it out of everyone’s way, and constantly answering questions about it! While I love the changes to my commute, I definitely wasn’t prepared.
So, here’s a little guide to prep you for your first ride:
The flying-broomstick sensation you get while on an e-bike is addictive, but you have to remember to dismount from your e-Bike before you enter the station.
2. Clear the Gates
Keep your eyes open for the widened entrances to the BART platforms. They’re MADE for handicapped riders and cyclists, so take advantage! I’ve seen a few people lift their bicycle into a vertical position and carry it through the normal-sized gates, but this is not something a novice should attempt (trust me here). Those gates snap back pretty fast, and there’s no need to risk messing up your battery or motor. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
3. Avoid the Stairs
Once you’re through the gates, you’ll either need to go up or down a level. If you’re super buff and want to show off, you can just pop your bike up on your shoulder and carry it on the stairs. If you’re like me, FIND THE ELEVATOR. The GenZe e-bike is only 46 pounds (light compared to some other alternatives), but I like to show up to my meetings and social commitments looking (and smelling) my best. And remember, NO ESCALATORS! This will cause some serious glares from your fellow passengers.
Pro Tip: Check for BART station elevator outages here before your trip.
4. Find the Right Car
Once you reach the platform, you’ll need to figure out exactly where you should wait with your e-Bike. This is also a good opportunity to find a car where other cyclists aren’t waiting. I always try to shoot for the middle of the platform since BART does not allow bicycles on the first car. Don’t forget this! If you do end up on the first car, you’ll get yelled at over the intercom and make it awkward for everybody.
5. Get in the Right Space
Since biking is so popular in the Bay, it can be a struggle to find room for your e-bike during commuter hours. There’s usually two designated places on either half of the car – one with bicycle priority and one with handicapped priority. Don’t be that guy who uses the handicapped space (seriously, not cool). If you see another bicycle there when you enter, it’s pretty easy to just ask the owner where he or she is getting off and arrange your bikes in that order. If there are other bikes, try to avoid using your kickstand. This takes up more space than leaning your e-bike against the rail.
6. Brush Up on Your E-Bike Knowledge
If you’re the chatty type, taking your new e-bike on BART is a nice ice breaker. I remember the days of being able to keep my head buried in my phone for the ride, but now I usually get asked a few questions about my GenZe. If you know things like range, top speed and recharge time, you should be good. And who knows? Maybe you’ll make a new friend by the end of your trip!
7. Prepare for Your Stop
I usually try to pull my e-bike and line it up at the door a stop early. If your train is too packed for this, just make sure you get everything ready in time for a smooth exit. Make a little eye contact with the people around you and stand with your hands on your handlebars. This politely lets everyone know that they need to GTFO of your way. You mean business.
And there you have it! It takes a little getting used to, but if you follow these steps, you should have a less-awkward first ride with your e-bike. And remember, practice makes perfect! Good luck!